London, Jun 12 (PTI) A scaled back Trooping the Colour ceremony was held at Windsor Castle on Saturday to mark Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday, held annually on the second Saturday of June.
The monarch, who turned 95 on April 21, was accompanied on stage by her cousin Duke of Kent, 85, in his role as Colonel of the Scots Guards, as she marked the sombre occasion just two days after her late husband Prince Philip would have turned 100.
The ceremony, usually held at a grand scale at Buckingham Palace with troops parading up the Mall, was scaled back for a second year running due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
'Following consultation with government and other relevant parties it has been agreed that the Queen's Official Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead this year in its traditional form in central London,' Buckingham Palace had announced earlier.
The military officer in charge of planning the parade said his aim was to create a 'memorable and uplifting day' for the monarch, who has been based at Windsor during the pandemic.
'Last year we had 85 on parade, this year we've got 274, plus 70 horses, so we're really excited about the event having grown and getting us back to normal for next year we hope,” said Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone.
'It's been very challenging, but we like a challenge. Covid has got a lot to answer for in so many ways, it's made this difficult but what we want to do more than anything is give the Queen a memorable and uplifting day,' he said.
The event ended with a 41-gun salute and there will also be a flypast by the Red Arrows.
Official celebrations of a British sovereign's birthday have traditionally been held on a day other than their actual birth date, particularly when the actual birthday has not been in the summer, so that there is better weather for a parade.
This year's celebration comes a day after the Queen was joined by son and heir Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Prince William and wife Kate, at a reception for world leaders at the G7 Summit in Cornwall.
The leaders, from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden were pictured chatting to the royals at the Eden Project botanical gardens attraction in Cornwall.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also extended his best wishes to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb and the Government & people of the U.K. on the official birthday of Her Majesty The Queen.
'Confident of advancing our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,' Jaishankar tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Queen is to host Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle on Sunday, at the conclusion of the G7 Summit. PTI AK IND AKJ IND